Femara

1 What is Femara?

Brand: Femara

Generic: Letrozole

Femara is an aromatase inhibitor used for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It is also used for women who have already had other cancer treatments. Female hormones promote the growth of some breast cancer tumors. This drug works by interfering with the conversion of Androgens to Estrogens.

This drug requires a prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Femara, the risks and benefits for your body should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications.

  • Studies in children regarding the correlation of age to the effects of letrozole have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established.
  • Studies in the elderly have not demonstrated any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of Letrozole.
  • Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women and animals are still inadequate.
  • Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. Discuss with your healthcare professional about potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding.

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as:

  • Ceritinib
  • Cilostazol
  • Clarithromycin
  • Crizotinib
  • Dabrafenib
  • Idelalisib
  • Nilotinib
  • Piperaquine
  • Tegafur
  • or Tamoxifen

Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as bone problems, hypercholesterolemia, cirrhosis, liver disease, or premenopausal period.

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3 Proper Usage

To use Femara correctly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. To prevent any side effects, take this drug exactly as directed in the label or as prescribed by your healthcare professional. You can take this drug with or without food. The dose of this drug will be variable for different patients. The directions on the label or the prescription by your healthcare professional should be followed.

The dosage of this drug you take depends on the medical problem for which you are using this drug.

  • Use and dose in children must be determined by your healthcare professional.

A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose.

Store the drug in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children.

Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Femara, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor.

Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness and unwanted effects of the drug. Unwanted effects can be screened using blood tests. Postmenopausal women are unlikely to become pregnant.

This drug has Teratogenic potential and it is recommended to use an effective form of birth control to prevent any pregnancy from happening. Inform your healthcare professional immediately if you think you have become pregnant while using the drug.

This drug may decrease bone mineral density in prolonged usage which can cause weak bones or osteoporosis. This drug may increase your cholesterol or fat in the blood and you may be prescribed drugs to lower the cholesterol and fat.

This drug can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or reduced alertness. It is recommended not to drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert while you are taking Letrozole.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Femara. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:

  • bone fracture
  • breast pain
  • chest pain
  • chills, fever, or flu-like symptoms
  • mental depression
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • continuing or severe nervousness
  • cough
  • dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • heart attack
  • increased sweating
  • nausea
  • pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  • severe and sudden
  • unexplained shortness of breath
  • severe, sudden headache
  • slurred speech, sudden loss of coordination
  • sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
  • vaginal bleeding
  • vision changes
  • black, tarry stools
  • blindness
  • blurred vision
  • burning
  • crawling
  • itching
  • numbness
  • prickling
  • "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • chest discomfort
  • decreased vision
  • dilated neck veins
  • extreme fatigue
  • increased need to urinate
  • irregular breathing, irregular heartbeat
  • painful or difficult urination
  • passing urine more often
  • sore throat sores
  • ulcers
  • or white spots on the lips or in the mouth, swollen glands
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weight gain
  • wheezing
  • white or brownish vaginal discharge

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

If any of the following side effects persists, or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional.

Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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